On 11/21/10, I had the honor of participating in what I hope will become an annual event, a new, well-organized picture book festival in Southport, Connecticut. Thank you to Susan Hood for her tireless efforts.
It starred twelve authors and author/illustrators including New York Times best-sellers, award-winners, a poet laureate, an Illustrator of the Year, and me.
We signed books in a handsome 100+-year-old hall and took turns speaking in 30-minute slots.
It’d been a while since I’d seen friends including Brian Floca, Peter Brown, Tad Hills, Jennifer Berne, and Keith Bendis. It was fairly crowded so I often could not see them, even if they were only one table over. But when I could, it was a treat to silently observe a fan nervously and/or eagerly approach one of them to pay a compliment.
(You can see the whole sparkly-eyed crew in the previous photo and a close-up of Tad and Peter immediately below.)
Something else I saw, and for the first time: some of Ross MacDonald's original art for Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman. Paintings done for picture books featured at the festival were on display and, in some cases, for sale.
It was a rush to be physically close to images that have had such personal meaning to me for almost three years. I realized that, until that moment, I hadn’t even known the actual size of Ross’s stunning work for the book.
At the cocktail reception afterward, some of the authors drifted into a conversation about which of us “resembled” our books. Unfortunately, we were interrupted, but it would’ve been wild to follow that curious path a bit further.